Thursday, May 08, 2008

Earthquake, naughty cat and BTT: Manual Labor

*May 8, 2008 1:45 am - Night owl that I am I wasn't asleep yet when we felt, what is probably the strongest earthquake I've ever experienced so far, the house shake for a good few minutes. Nothing fell down but things were rattling on the shelves, the doors and walls were swaying. It was a magnitude 6.7 where it originated but it seems that what we felt here was about a 4 on the Japanese intensity scale. Let's just say it was the first time I've actually moved to stand in a doorframe, all the while thinking that I haven't checked the expiry dates on the stuff in the earthquake kit in a while. Probably not the best time to think that. All is fine though. (Image from

*Bailey is such a naughty boy lately! He's like a tantrum-throwing toddler and a rebellious teenager all wrapped up in one some days. I'm so tired of dealing with his behaviour issues and the lack of sleep from him waking me up at all hours. Anyone want a badly-behaved, but otherwise cute white male cat? ;)
Mr. Bill Bailey
(No, I don't really want to give him away as much as I'm tempted to some days. He's been sucking up to me today but we'll see how long that lasts! I think he's grumpier than usual now that it's warmer. (I can relate to that!) He's already started hanging out on his cool sheet, made of metal so it always feels cool, as seen in the pic. Poor guy, it's only going to get much much worse!)

btt button
  • Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?
I've never aspired to be a writer so I don't have many writing books of that type but I do have quite a few textbooks and reference books for teaching English as a Second Language. Practical English Usage by Michael Swan is my Grammar Bible and I refer to it often. I also have a handful of non-fiction books on various aspects of English language and grammar like Blooming English by Kate Burridge or Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. Sadly I haven't read most of them yet, though Eats, Shoots and Leaves was quite amusing.
I still have many of my Applied Linguistics texts from university and I sometimes look at them and think I would probably enjoy them more now that I don't have to write a paper on them. Except perhaps for Transformational Grammar. If I never have to look at it again that would be fine with me. All those sentence trees are far too math-like, that big red book is simply taking up valuable space! But it's especially the ones to do with the social aspect of the English language or the history of it, as I love knowing where words came from, that most appeal to me now.

Moving on from the English language, I have quite a collection of second language (for me) textbooks and dictionaries. Represented are my one semester dip into Italian and Spanish, and a few books on Ukrainian. Then I have a shelf full of French study materials, dating back to when I studied it in school and later spent a year in France on a student exchange. I still have a bit of a love affair with France and the French, although my speaking ability is extremely rusty now. And last, of course, I have two shelves full of Japanese language study materials. Textbooks, and kanji books, and dictionaries, and vocabulary books and worksheets and ... and... Sigh. They mock me on a regular basis. And pretty much every time I leave the house and mangle the language in a shop or somewhere I feel bad about not studying it more seriously. Another New Year's Resolution that I haven't made good on. So I guess the verdict is that I have quite a lot of language-related reference material but I hardly use any of it. :(


  1. It happens to the best of us! I was taking a bath when there was an Earthquake of 6.5 magnitude. I could hardly come out thinking all the while that I was gonna be found dead in the buff! What a thought!

    I refer to my dictonaries and thesaurus. For other books, no!

    My BTT post!

  2. Those earthquakes so scare me, I have never experienced one on the East Coast, when I lived in California they scared me, always felt like the ground would open up and this awful noise, like a fright train underground.

    I am so happy you guys are allright :)

    This is my first BOOKING THROUGH FRIDAY and my answer is rather short.

    I put up time for Western Europe, Japan and my time here, so now I "KNOW" what time it is in your area, no more confusion :D, it's the middle of the night in Japan as i write this, you had a rude awakening....

  3. Yeah, that's pretty scary. Oh, I love the cat, very gorgeous looking cat!

  4. Wow, the earthquake thing would probably scare the crap out of me. Tornados, fine, earthquakes, not so much.

    As for pet misbehavior, Daisy is a pro. She's teething and in a foul/rambunctious mood. She's lost two molars in my hand in the last two days.

  5. Glad you're ok! I was thinking about you...

  6. I hate earthquakes! The last one we had here (bottom half of NZ); I was at work. Our building is only three stories, but it's still not a good place to be!
    Love your cat. :)

  7. The only earthquake I've ever felt was a bit of rattling and I didn't know what it was. 6.7 would freak me out!

    I can't even imagine learning a language like Japanese.

  8. Very interesting. I do probably have more Spanish reference materials than English, although my Spanish is very very rusty.

  9. I know what those quakes feel like! The Northridge earthquake of 1994 woke me out of a deep sleep and I ran to the doorframe. A bunch of stuff shattered in our kitchen, but we didn't have the kind of damage that many in the city had. Though in our neighborhood, many chimneys fell!

    And re: the writing and grammar reference books, I posted about this too. But I forgot to mention how many foreign language dictionaries and textbooks we have, too. Thanks for reminding me. I've never studied Japanese, but I have friends who have, and say it's the hardest language they've ever tried to learn, so I wouldn't feel badly :)

  10. I am glad the earthquake didn't cause any damage to your home or harm to your family, Tanabata. I've felt a few quakes that have had me under my desk or in the doorway over the years. Most however, just give me a slight pause and it's on with the day or back to sleep. You've reminded me that I need to "refresh" our earthquake kit.

    Bailey is beautiful. I hope his behavior turns around soon so you can get a good night's sleep.

  11. Maybe Bailey doesn't like the earth shaking? My cat goes beserk even if its windy here.

    As well as the dictionaries I wrote about in my post I also have a few books on French and Italian languages and dictionaries - my knowledge of both now is very rusty. Japanese sounds a really difficult language.

  12. When I visited Japan a few years ago (my sister was living there at the time) I woke up onmy last night just before one hit. Things were falling off the shelves and we were about to get in the doorway when it suddenly stopped again. It was pretty scary and I was so glad I was going back to the UK in the morning.

    I like your kitty. Morgaine has been waking me up at about 7am every day this week and it is getting very tiresome now. I need more sleep than that as I haven't been going to bed until after 1am.

    The only guide I have read has been Eats, Shoots & Leaves which was a short fun read.

  13. gautami tripathy- LOL. I've had that thought before too, about an earthquake right when you're having a shower or something! ;)

    Madeleine- Most of the time the earthquakes aren't too big so you get used to them. A little shake shake and then back to normal. This one was stronger though so a reminder of what could happen someday!
    Good idea about the clocks. On my computer desktop I have the local time and the time in Victoria.

    Nita- Bailey says thanks for the compliment! :)

    Andi- I don't think I'd like tornados much either but here it's all earthquakes all the time, with the occasional typhoon thrown in! ;)
    I hope Daisy's mood improves soon. This problem with Bailey has been going on for a while unfortunately and we really don't know what to do ahout it. He's healthy, the vet says it behavioural! Sigh.

    Janet- Thanks, we're good. Everyone was talking about it the next day since it was a fairly strong one, but no damage around here at least.

    Maree- Our apartment is on the third floor too, and even it was swaying pretty good. I'd hate to be in a highrise in that situation.
    And thanks. Bailey is pretty, I just wish he'd behave!

    Chris- I can't seem to imagine learning Japanese either since I'm doing so poorly at it! ;)

    Kim L- I've long had a thing for other languages even though I'm not very good at picking them up. Someday I hope to study French again. If I could only get a handle on Japanese first...

    Gentle Reader- Wow! Luckily I've never experienced an earthquake that caused damage .. yet! (I'm knocking on wood right now!) Though they do say Tokyo is due for a big one! I really need to update the earthquake kit!
    Japanese is a very difficult language to learn. It's just so completely different from English, the grammar, the writing system, the way of thinking. But there are plenty of foreigners here who have managed to master it and whenever I see them on TV or somewhere it makes me feel a bit stupid again! :(

    Literary Feline- Like you said, usually the small earthquakes barely register. Nothing like a good shaking to remind me of the power behind them.
    I think I may have to start sleeping during the day when Bailey's napping! ;)

    BooksPlease- Unfortunately the problem has been going on for a few months although he has been particularly bad this past week. Sometimes we can understand what has put him in a bad mood but usually we have no idea what the problem is.
    I love French and really would like to study it again someday.

    Rhinoa- I could probably handle 7 but I go to bed around 1 or 2 then he's meowing and scratching the closet door around 4 or 5. Even if I feed them and go back to bed, he'll be back causing mishief (knocking things down, scratching, peeing on the floor) and waking me up again in a couple of hours. I never seem to get a solid night sleep anymore. Sigh. Jiro, our other cat, is a complete sweetheart. We have no problems with him!

  14. The earthquake was a scary experience, though I realised that it was so strong only when my colleagues discussed it the next day.

    Such a sweet photograph - Bailey looks exactly as if he is posing for a photo!

  15. A Reader in India- I'm glad the earthquake wasn't any worse. Bad luck that you were here when it happened. :)

  16. Seattle had an earthquake a few year back and some of us in BC could. It was 6.something in Seatle adn a 4 here. I had never experienced an earthquake before than and it took me a few seconds to realize what it was. I didn't know what to do so I just started running downstairs to go outside. It was over before I got out, and after I found out it was the worst think to do. LOL!

    Boy did it scare my cat and dog! They both knew what to do though, they got under something and cried.

  17. Teddy Rose- I remember hearing about it from my father. Next time, if you experience another one, you'll have to hide under something with your animals! :P

  18. Glad you weren't any closer to the epicenter! I was in San Francisco for the Loma Prieta (6.9) quake in 1989. Hope I don't have to go through that again. There were so many aftershocks that we joked that they weren't worth mentioning unless they were at least a 5.

  19. Laura- Me too! And now with the big earthquake in China... Like H said, that could be Tokyo one of these days! I can certainly imagine it wouldn't be something you'd want to experience again!


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